Those We Have Lost

Shoshana Karsenty, 85: Argentine native and legendary art teacher

Murdered by Hamas in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7

Shoshana Karsenty (Courtesy)
Shoshana Karsenty (Courtesy)

Shoshana Karsenty, 85, from Kibbutz Be’eri, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in or near her home on October 7.

Her daughter and son-in-law, Mayana and Noah Hershkovitz, were also murdered the same day by Hamas in Be’eri. Her ex-husband, Eli, 93 — who had been captured and held hostage by Egypt on October 7, 1973, and freed after two months — managed to survive the atrocities.

Just a night earlier, the family said, they had all eaten a festive holiday meal together — Shoshana, Eli, Mayana and Noah. Only Eli survived the next day. For more than 10 days all three were considered missing and thought to potentially be held captive, until their bodies were located and recovered.

Shoshana is survived by her son, Moti, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She was buried on October 19 in Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

Her granddaughter, Ella Berkovich, who lost her parents and grandmother on the same day, said Shoshana was starting to show signs of dementia and she hoped in some way that she did not really understand what was going on during October 7: “In my thoughts, I am normalizing it that it was fast and she didn’t suffer too much,” Ella told a local news outlet. “I’m keeping it this way to try and keep going and move on. Her loss is not any easier, but it’s more acceptable. These are complicated and confused feelings.”

On what would have been her 86th birthday, Ella wrote on Facebook that the family released blue star-shaped balloons with messages written on them into the sky in honor of “our pure angel… we love you, we are pained, we miss you, and we are sure that you will get the stars we sent you with love.”

Her friend Rivkale Samban Cohen, wrote on Facebook on her birthday, recalling how they had celebrated her 85th a year earlier together at a coffee shop: “Shoshana Karsenty, my good friend, a teacher in my youth, who believed that every girl and boy could paint, and could draw. She was knowledgable in all types of arts, including music, and she particularly loved Leonard Cohen.”

Born in Buenos Aires, she moved to Israel alone at age 15 after her mother died and her father, unable to raise the children, sent them to an orphanage, according to a kibbutz eulogy. At 18 she moved to Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, where she met Eli, a native of Morocco, and they wed and had two children. The couple divorced after a decade, and Shoshana moved to Be’eri only in recent years, to be closer to her daughter.

“As a child she lived in an orphanage in difficult circumstances, and as an adult she accepted everything with happiness and a smile, never thinking she deserved more,” the kibbutz eulogy reads. “She always said thank you, never complained. She wouldn’t harm a fly, she was modest and humble.”

Shoshana was an artist and longtime art teacher, with a degree in education from Oranim College and art studies at the Avni Institute.

Her nephew, Udi Cramsky, the head of the interior design department at the Holon Institute of Technology, told the Portfolio art magazine that Shoshana is “remembered as the legendary art teacher in the Eshkol region. She taught generations of students, at first in Kibbutz Ein Shlosha, which she helped found, and later in other nearby kibbutzim and in Be’eri, where she lived in later years with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.”

Udi said that as a child “I loved to create with her… as an adult, I enjoyed conversations with her. My aunt Shoshana was an incredible intellectual. I admired her. She knew many languages and read in them. She learned and dived deep into many areas, in all their details… she could talk about architecture, philosophy, education, art and many other topics.”

Her grandson, Tamir Hershkovitz, said he also learned art from her at a young age and later would hold discussions with her about the world of art, although she was not big on sharing her own feelings.

“Painting was her medium for dialogue between her and the world,” Tamir told Portfolio. “It was an ongoing and endless dialogue throughout the years. After she got divorced and lived alone, her living room became her studio, you could always find there a big canvas or a plyboard with a painting underway.”

On October 7, Hamas murdered Shoshana and burned down her house, destroying almost all of her life’s work.

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